Losing my mojo

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Its been a while since I last posted online… I’m trying to work out why that is but I think its a combination of a few things.

When I first started this blog it was around the time of @media 2005 conference. These were exiting times for me, I had just finished reading Jeffrey Zeldman’s Designing with Web Standards and lots of my peers I had discovered in the blogosphere were networking at this and other conferences. The knowledge gained from this book coupled with the speakers papers gave me the extra drive I felt I needed to move forward in my web development career. This was at a time when most of the local Wolverhampton web development companies were still using tables for layout and probably had never heard of CSS Zen Garden and what CSS could do.

I then got myself involved with a local group of geeks who met regularly to discuss new technologies over a few beers, we even organised a few grass root conferences along the way. However my attendance gradually wained because of family commitments and most meets seemingly clashing with Wolves games.

This blog which started nearly a decade ago has seen web design change completely from an industry with no real direction to a set of guides and best practices which everyone should adhere to. But this has had a knock on effect to my enthusiasm for all things web, things just don’t excite me as they did. People getting into the industry now don’t know how easy they have it… or maybe its just my age!

Anyway, this is me saying I’m still here, 10 years older, knocking out websites and that I’ll try to post more meaningless drivel on a regular basis, albeit on a more personal and less web centred basis (:

Happy Birthday Matt!

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Dear Matt, you’re six today!

Unwrapping your cards and presents this morning I was reminded by the elegance of your words, the agility of your thoughts and the nature of your actions of why I am so proud of you and the young man that you are becoming.

Every time a birthday approaches I think back to how much has changed since you were born, and I look forward to how much will change in your lifetime, and hope I will be around long enough to give you the tools you need to navigate the world and grow into yourself.

Happy birthday, son. I love you.

Emerging Standards

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Last Saturday brought about the inaugural Multipack Presents event kindly hosted at the One Black Bear offices. The theme of this first event was “Emerging Standards” — Matt Machell, Bruce Lawson and Stuart Langridge discussed ARIA, HTML 5 and Whizzy Javacsript Stuff respectively.

The event kicked off at The Old Crown pub where most of the attendee’s met up, it was good to see some new faces along with the regular peeps — about 25 people turned up, which was better than we expected considering this was our first event. After some liquid refreshment we headed over to the One Black Bear offices where the talks began. At this point I have to state that Gaz and Ross have the nicest working environment I have ever seen, very jealous!

Matt started the presentations, his talk was a good introduction to the new ARIA specification and explained how to make rich internet applications more accessible. The presentation raised some good debate, Stuart came up with a nice idea about creating an ‘aria stylesheet’ without altering existing markup, which he quickly knocked up the next day.

Bruce’s talk followed, discussing HTML 5 and talked through the process of his HTML 5 redesign, explaining certain new tags that are being proposed. Maybe I’m mistaken, but one thing that I found odd with the specification is that there isn’t a tag that describes the actual main content for the page, there are tags for <nav>, <footer> etc but nothing to describe the actual content. There is <section> but there can be multiple instances of <section>. I think there should be a unique tag to describe this, Bruce has asked for developers to give feedback to the working group on anything they see as incorrect or has been overlooked so I may just send some feedback.

After a break for munchies in the form of pizza kindly supplied by Campaign Monitor the presentations were finished off with Stuart’s talk which discussed JavaScript and some nice features that are already built into particular browsers. All the methods discussed can be achieved using a variety of frameworks but it was interesting to know which methods were supported without a framework in particular browsers.

I’m really looking forward to our next Multipack Presents event which is currently being organised, we’re asking for feedback on what you would like to see discussed, so if you want to be heard post your comment on the Multipack blog. Until then, maybe I’ll catch up with you at the March meet.

Get your Geek on, again!

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After a two year hiatus Geek in the Park returns to Leamington Spa on Saturday 9th August 2008 and if the 2006 event is anything to go by you’ll be foolish to miss this years event organised by The Multipack.

It all kicks off with a friendly family orientated picnic with fun & games in Jephson Gardens followed by an evening of talks by web industry leaders Jon Hicks and Drew McLellan at KoKos. Jon Hicks will present “Pixel Pushing: An Introduction to Icon Design” and Drew McLellan will talk about “What Brian Cant Never Taught You About Metadata”. If that isn’t enough to tempt you, don’t forget the event is free.

See you there!

A lick of paint

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2008 has brought with it a renewed vigour for the direction The Multipack is heading, with this in mind and being a community of web developers and designers in Birmingham the natural way of getting the ball rolling was to create a new design for our website and logo.

Holding the paint brush was Paul Lloyd who created the mock-ups for the website and logo—which I’m particularly pleased with. Trevor Morris has done a brilliant job of implementing the design into html adding in Microformats and parsing all popular external feeds where possible.

We also have a new forum that Ross Riley has configured and there are a few others working behind the curtains making sure everything stays spick and span.

There will be no excuses for people not knowing where and when things are taking place either, as we now meet up every second Saturday of each month at the Old Joint Stock with the premise of moving out further afield within the West Midlands a couple of times throughout the year.

So whether you’re an existing member or not, register on the forum and get the details for the next meet from Upcoming and I’ll see you there!

Keep watching for some interesting forthcoming events…

The Web Design Survey

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The results from The Web Design Survey 2007 have been translated and it makes for some very interesting reading.

Here are some things that have surprised me.

Age
I always thought it was a young mans game. Young man being male/female 18-25 years old. Looks like there is a few years left in this old dog.
Gender
Maybe this is based on me being in the West Midlands, UK but 1 in 5 of my peers isn’t female.
Geographic region
There was 20% answered from the EU (except the UK) and 11.2% from the UK. There seemed to be a high percentage of people who answered from the UK compared to the EU, maybe this was a language issue.
Type of organisation
I was surprised to see about a quarter of people are either self-employed or freelance, that seems quite high for any industry
Years at current job
Looks like people move around often, I’m in the 3.6%

8 Random Things

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I’ve been tagged more than once so I think I should bore you with my eight random things, but before I do here are the rules:

The Rules

  • You have to post these rules before giving your facts.
  • Players state eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  • At the end of the blog post, you tag eight people and list their names. (Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.)
  • People who are tagged need to write about their eight things on their own blog and also post these rules.

With that over and done with, here goes…

  1. When I was 8 I left my SuperTed teddy at The Natural History Museum and cried all the way home when my friends Dad said we couldn’t go back to get him, I think I left him with the Neanderthals. I’m not sure I’ve ever totally got over this.
  2. I have a trophy for coming first in a BMX race as a member of Wordsley BMX Club, however there was only me racing in my class.
  3. I hate spammers and think I should build a web app so people can muddy their data/contact form with incorrect contact details.
  4. I have scored a goal from the half-way line while playing for my school against Wolverhampton Grammar School, something even Pelé didn’t manage I might add, though the level of opposition may have been a factor.
  5. I have no patience for DIY especially flat pack furniture, it has got so bad that the family go out when I have something to build and don’t come back till it’s done, go figure.
  6. My Granddad designed the wheels/tyres for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
  7. I passed my BTEC National in Art and Design at Matthew Boulton College with a Distinction and was named student of the year by the companies sponsoring the course – however I spent most of the time in the pub playing pool – for this I feel quite guilty, but not too much.
  8. My first exposure to the Internet was through CompuServe around 1991 surprisingly I actually liked it.
  9. I can’t count and don’t like rules.

I told you I would bore you!

Right who to tag, hmm

If I could give you one word of advice…

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If I could give you one word of advice, it would be to never go with esure insurance, from my experience customer service is shocking.

Update: I recently cancelled my policy with them and I’ve now received a letter off them to arrange payment of the balance, however this outstanding balance is because they had credited me this amount in the first place! Calm down, dear my arse!

Justice!

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The English team that doesn’t play football how it is supposed to be played may not win that much this season, they are certainly out of the Champions League. What a final it would be if Man Utd could do the business tomorrow.

Oh José you weren’t the best team, what’s with the sour grapes?